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About Us

What We Do

Southeast Wisconsin Citizens & Organizations Active in Disasters (SEWI COAD) is a coalition that brings together leaders from emergency management, public safety, local government, volunteer organizations, and the private sector to engage the community in preparedness efforts and disaster response.


Reduce duplication and
maximize outcomes


Develop and maintain effective channels for sharing information


Work together to identify and overcome challenges


Identify common goals and create shared solutions


SEWI COAD enhances community readiness through individual and organizational cooperation to support all-hazard preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. 


We envision a widely recognized, continuously improving, and self-sustaining coalition of individuals and organizations working together within a flexible framework to coordinate the delivery of assistance to people and communities before, during, and after disasters in conjunction with and support of local government efforts.

Man carrying supplies inside of a Red Cross warming shelter during an active disaster.
People unloading a truck full of strawberries for food donation.

Who Can Join SEWI COAD?

The Whole Community.

SEWI COAD welcomes anyone with a role to play before, during, or after an emergency or disaster, including but not limited to: nonprofit groups, faith-based organizations, businesses, government agencies, schools, colleges, and universities, and individual volunteers.

How We Operate

SEWI COAD hosts quarterly meetings to connect members with information and preparedness opportunities, such as training, education, workshops, and exercises. During an emergency or disaster, SEWI COAD members share information and host coordination calls to discuss needs and organize resources. The SEWI COAD approach is to leverage collective knowledge, resources, and expertise for a more effective disaster response. COAD helps build more resilient communities.

Community Leadership​

COAD believes community leadership should be used in planning and implementing disaster recovery. By bringing leaders together from emergency management, fire, EMS, law enforcement, public health, public works, local government, community organizations, and businesses, COAD can avoid duplication of services. Collaborating in this way creates a coordinated response that benefits the entire community, leading to a faster recovery.

a man in a hard hat talking to another man.


COADs are active at the most local, community level because all disasters start and end locally. They may work within a geographic area or community, such as a county, tribe, or region. To learn more about joining your local COAD, send us an email here


In Wisconsin, local and regional COADs work with Wisconsin Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WI VOAD) to support an integrated system of coordination. For more information, contact us here.


In Wisconsin, the Southeast Wisconsin COAD is the umbrella organization that connects local COADS. Local COAD members can participate in regional COAD activities, such as disasters that span county lines. 


The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) serves as the coordinating body that connects state VOADs and their local COADs.

Local COADs Exist Across the Country

COADs are essential to the larger VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) network. This network encompasses the National VOAD, as well as 56 state and territory VOADs. By collaborating with their state VOAD, local COADs can gain valuable support and guidance from the resources and memberships available to them at the state and federal levels. 

Additionally, local COADs connect with other county and regional COADs to share ideas, resources, and training throughout the disaster cycle. Working together as a unified force can make all the difference in building a more resilient and prepared community.

Skyline view of Madison Wisconsin during a sunset.

Have Questions?

If you'd like to learn more about joining your local COAD, get in touch with us or call 414-639-4456